20 October 2006


As I listened to several NPR reports about sectarian violence (the polite term for civil war these days) and the number of overnight deaths in Iraq while in the shower this morning -- there must have been three reports, and it wasn't a long shower; we're in pledge week, even -- I wondered what I would tell my hypothetical children about why I didn't do anything to oppose the war. Sure, I went to a few marches, and called my congressional representatives a few times. I voted against George Bush as often as I could. But that's it, and I tell myself it's because there's nothing else I can do. Nothing feels meaningful or significant. The March on Washington ploy has been overplayed in the years since the Vietnam War, and all the officials go out of town for the weekends they're held anyway. We all know our president doesn't read the newspaper, but even if he did see a picture of two million people protesting on The Mall, he seems impervious to public pressure.

But it occurred to me that my complacency might have a least a little something to do with my feeling that our waging war in the Middle East is inevitable, and becoming ever more so, if we want to keep the oil flowing in our direction. It's not a one-to-one relationship, war for oil. But our friends in Saudi Arabia may be coming to the end of their reign, and we need a foothold in the region. We need to contain Iran, to prevent it from exerting stronger leadership, and considering that their country is sitting on top of some of the world's last best oil, who can blame the Iranians if they do want a nuclear weapon?

I was talking with co-workers at lunch the other day about the peak oil issue -- I didn't even bring it up, I swear -- and while the 20-year-old intern from Virginia declared that we've still got ANWR to exploit, and as long as he could fill up his pick-up for $2.19/gallon, we're fine, other people had slightly more nuanced opinions. Some ideas for improving alternative energy technologies were thrown around (I work in an engineering firm, after all). But the feeling of the room was summed up by the man who thought that we'd be the last ones affected by oil shortages because we'd go to war to secure whatever we could. And while no one of us would vote for such a thing, if we could vote for it (except maybe the intern), I can't help but feeling that there's a small, shameful part of us that's relieved that the decision has been taken out of our hands.

I need to get back in the shower now.


Blogger Stuntmother said...

That was an excellent post and helped me to focus some of my own feelings about this damned war and the state of the US in the world.

I too have been wondering these last few days about why I'm not all summer of love, putting flowers in the guns. I wonder at and deplore my own apathy. I have voted, sure, but where is my rage?

11:41 AM  

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